Salvini goes to trial in Italy for blocking migrants on a ship

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Angelo Carconi / EPA

Matteo Salvini

Matteo Salvini, leader of the far-right Italian party Liga, will be tried on kidnapping charges for his decision to prevent the landing of 147 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by Open Arms, in August 2019. The trial begins on September 15 in Palermo, the Sicilian capital.

Former Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to be tried in Italy for alleged kidnapping of people for blocking the disembarkation, in August 2019, of migrants who were on board the humanitarian vessel Open Arms.

The decision was deliberated by a judge at the Palermo (Sicily) Court, after the prosecutor confirmed Salvini’s accusation and defense, alleging that the decision taken in the summer of 2019 had been taken by the Italian Government as a whole and not just by the then holder of the Interior portfolio.

The trial will begin on September 15, as progress has been made. media locations.

The leader of the extreme right-wing Liga, when he joined the Italian executive, then in a governmental alliance he maintained with the 5 Star Movement (M5S, anti-system), tutored the Interior portfolio and was deputy prime minister.

At the time, Salvini applied a “closed ports policy“, A strategy that prevented the disembarkation of migrants in Italian territory and which, as he has always assured, was applied to try to pressure the rest of the Member States of the European Union (EU) to accept the relocation of these people who reached the Italian coasts via the route migration from the Mediterranean.

In August 2019, Salvini refused that about 150 rescued migrants who were on board the humanitarian ship Open Arms, blocked at the time off the island of Lampedusa, could land in a safe port, in this case, an Italian port. These people were stuck on the high seas more than 20 days.

The odyssey of these people ended on the night of August 20, 2019, when the Public Prosecutor’s Office allowed the 83 migrants who still remained on board the ship associated with the Spanish non-governmental organization (NGO) Proativa Open Arms to disembark at Lampedusa.

Several migrants from the blocked group had been removed earlier due to specific situations, while others jumped into the sea to swim to the coast.

Am I being sued for this, for defending my country? I go with my head held high, also in your name. First Italy. Always, ”wrote Salvini in a message posted on social media.

For its part, and also through social media, the Catalan NGO Proativa Open Arms welcomed the decision of the judge at the Palermo court. “We are happy for all the people we rescued during the 65th mission and in all these years. The truth of the Mediterranean is only one, we are at sea to tell it ”, stressed the NGO.

Last March 20, the Palermo Public Prosecutor’s Office requested the prosecution of Salvini, stating that this situation “was not a political act, but rather a political act. an administrative act”From the Ministry of Interior.

Salvini’s lawyer, Giulia Bongiorno, set out today for four hours the arguments for trying to prevent the trial from taking place, claiming that the decision not to allow migrants to land on Italian territory had been taken by the government collective.

It is it is not the only process of its kind in which the name of Matteo Salvini is involved. Another similar case is open in the Sicilian city of Catania, due to a case that dates back to events that took place in July 2019.

That year, between the 27th and the 31st of July, Salvini prevented 131 migrants from landing in an Italian port and kept these people aboard an Italian Coast Guard ship, the Gregoretti, for several days in the Mediterranean Sea.

On April 10, the Public Prosecutor’s Office requested that this case be closed.